Mexican Leftist Lopez Obrador Refuses to Go Away

Since Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador didn’t win the Mexican presidency, he’s just going to set up his own government:

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador launched a parallel government Monday and prepared to swear himself in as Mexico’s “legitimate” president, a ceremony the leftist hopes will keep alive protests to undermine the man who officials say defeated him at the polls.

The inauguration ceremony is the latest chapter in Lopez Obrador’s unsuccessful battle for the presidency. He claims fraud and dirty campaign tactics were responsible for President-elect Felipe Calderon’s narrow victory in the July 2 vote, and his parallel government could spend the next six years calling for street protests that have already dented the economy and prompted travel warnings from the U.S. Embassy.

While the red-green-and-white presidential sash to be draped across Lopez Obrador’s shoulders Monday will lack legal recognition, he hopes to assume the moral leadership of millions of poor Mexicans.

Based in Mexico City, Lopez Obrador’s parallel government has its own Cabinet, but it will not collect taxes or make laws and relies on donations to carry out its plans.

One of its first orders of business will be trying to prevent Calderon’s Dec. 1 inauguration.


Marco Ramirez, 34, a university researcher watching the crowd from a sidewalk cafe, said he believed many of the demonstrators were receiving money from the Mexico City government, which is run by Lopez Obrador’s Democratic Revolution Party.

“This affects the country’s image,” he said. “It puts out a very bad image.”

It remains to be seen whether Lopez Obrador can keep up the momentum. Some members of his leftist Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, have already expressed disagreement with Lopez Obrador’s strategy of using Congress _ where the PRD is now the second-largest force _ as an arena for protests rather than negotiations.

Writing in the Mexico City daily Reforma, columnist Armando Fuentes described Lopez Obrador’s “swearing in” ceremony as “laughable” and “a circus act, a farce.”

Is there any wonder why Mexico continues to wallow in third world country status? It isn’t just because of its economic poverty – its leadership refuses to give up its third world mentality.

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